This was the performance of the Uruguayan delegation in Tokyo 2020

This was the performance of the Uruguayan delegation in Tokyo 2020

The closing of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 allows us to take stock of everything that happened and how much achieved by the Uruguayan delegation, whose members once again reflected in each competition their sacrifice and desire to excel, which at the same time shows that, despite the easily verifiable competitive spirit, participating in some Olympics already means a great achievement in their careers.

All the development of the light double torque competition of the rowers Bruno Cetraro and Felipe Klüver, Nicole frank fulfilling the Olympic dream of his grandmother and venturing a great future, the effort exemplified in the muscle tear of Mikael Aprahamián. Enzo Martinez and his very good participation in the pool, Deborah Rodriguez and his semifinal in his third Games, Emiliano Lasa and the missing centimeter, and the Olympism example of Maria Pia Fernandez. All while the sailors Lola Moreira, Dominique Knüppel and Pablo Defazio They showed perseverance to keep improving and learning at the age of 22, 26 or 40.

After the opening ceremony, whose celestial flag bearers were Rodríguez and Cetraro, the Celeste went out to compete in Japanese waters on the Uruguayan night of Friday, July 23, and almost noon on Saturday in Japan.

Cetraro and Klüver They came out strong in the series, but couldn’t keep up, finished sixth in their heat and had to go to the repechage the next day. There, in the popular play-off, they sought and achieved the feat, attacking the end to get third place and qualify just enough for the semifinals.

Just two hours later Lola moreira she made her debut in the Laser Radial competition, finishing 23rd in the first regatta and eleventh in the second. At dawn on Monday 26, the young Uruguayan had her regattas 3 and 4, where she was seventeenth and thirty-first, respectively.

That same Monday (in the morning in Uruguay and in the evening in Japan), Nicole frankAt the age of 17, she jumped into the water to achieve one of her greatest goals of her career with great projection and, also, fulfill the pending dream of her late paternal grandmother, the swimmer Angelika Rädche who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 1940 that were finally not disputed by the outbreak of World War II. Frank, the national record holder in the 200-meter medley, set a time of 2: 18.93, the second-best time of his career.

The next to participate was the judoka Aprahamian, who was able to continue the path of his brother Pablo (who was in Rio 2016) and had a great fight against Swede Robin Pacek in the category of up to 81 Kg. Games but knowing that we can compete and that we are at the level of a European Grand Slam medalist, that we went to the point of gold because we blocked it and because we know what to do, so we have to continue ”, said the Uruguayan who suffered a tear in the left hamstring when stopping a rival action, an injury that determined the victory for the European.

In the early morning of Tuesday, July 27, Moreira it continued to compete in the waters off the island of Enoshima, and in the evening Cetraro and Klüver contested their semifinals. Rowing, the sport that has given Uruguay the most Olympic medals, had another historic regatta by a celestial boat, and in the rough waters of Japan, the Uruguayan rowers’ technique prevailed over the rival physical power, they ended in second place and qualifying for the last regatta, which took place the next day, hours after Pablo Defazio and Dominique Knüppel they began to compete in the Nacra 17 class of Vela.

The world is made by those who are crazy, thanks for telling me that I’m crazy”Declared Osvaldo Borchi, the Argentine coach of Cetraro and Klüver, as he planned details for the last regatta and kept his rowers at the top of motivation, like he did when he was inspired by the ladder tied with wires.

Although in the final the Uruguayans could not overcome the sixth position, they received the Olympic diploma that they had secured after their great qualification in the semifinals and managed to equal the best Uruguayan position since Sydney 2000, where Milton Wynants won the silver medal in cycling in track (in Rio 2016, Emiliano Lasa also finished sixth in long jump).

Cetraro appreciated: “At the end of the last regatta, we got off the boat with Felipe and we thanked each other because without the other it would not have been possible to get to where we are. The first thing we told each other was that in Paris 2024 they hold on because we come for them. We will have to keep dreaming in Paris and work harder ”.

The Defazio-Knüppel duo, and Lola Moreira continued their effort in the water, and on the Uruguayan night of Thursday 29 it was the turn of Deborah Rodriguez, who became the first Uruguayan to compete in three Olympic Games. The athlete managed to qualify for the semifinals by running in heat 5 and finishing in second position with a time of 2: 00.90 in the 800 meters.

Moreira closed her participation two hours later, and finished in 22nd place (out of 44 competitors) in the general classification of the radial laser sailing class, improving in three places the position she had obtained in Rio 2016.

“This gives me more strength to continue,” said Lola, who accepted that she could not achieve her goal of entering the Top 15, but stressed that she will take her performance as an apprenticeship aiming at Paris 2024.

That same Friday, Enzo MartinezThe 26-year-old competed in the 50-meter freestyle swimming and, although he was unable to qualify for the semi-finals, he performed very well, finishing fourth in his series and 35th out of 73 competitors.

The athlete Emiliano Lasa, an Olympic diploma in Rio de Janeiro 2016, competed on Saturday the 31st and incredibly finished in 13th place in the long jump, remaining one place from being able to re-qualify for an Olympic final. In addition, curiously, the last three classified to the final, where twelve competitors participated, did so with 7.96m, just one centimeter more than the best jump in Lasa.

The athlete, who in February 2020 had to undergo surgery for a stress injury to the tibia, commented after closing his second Olympic participation: “I wanted to be in the final, luck didn’t help one bit; it was very close, a shame. If the Olympics had been last year, I would not have been here. Qualifying became very difficult. It is already a great achievement to have been able to be in these Games ”.

The Uruguayan expectation on the track remained because Rodríguez came out to dispute his semifinal, finishing in seventh position in his heat of the 800 meters with a time of 2: 01.76. The athlete thus finished in 19th place among the 24 semifinalists (in total 45 athletes competed).

Already started in August, on the first Sunday Pablo Defazio and Dominique Knüppel finished their participation in the Games, finishing in 18th place in the general table of the Nacra 17 mixed sailing modality without being able to qualify for the Medal Race, so the last Uruguayan in competing would be the athlete Maria Pia Fernandez in 1,500 meters.

Watching the Rio Games on television, the Trinidadian had promised to participate in the next edition, which she was able to classify with great effort. However, within hours of realizing a five-year promise, Fernández suffered a muscle strain on Thursday with 9-millimeter edema in the calves of his right leg.

The Uruguayan felt a puncture in the last training session, the ultrasound and MRI confirmed the worst, but asked to be at the start, although she could not even jog in the pre-race warm-up. His mark was 4: 59.56 and he finished 43rd out of 45 participants, because there were two athletes who could not finish the competition.

“I left everything, as always, although today that everything would have been 10%, I left everything I had and did the best I could because I think I deserved this, to be an Olympian and arrive,” said Fernández, Uruguayan flag bearer at the ceremony of closure.

“You always learn,” Defazio had declared. At the time, Déborah said: “I did my best, I’m super happy about that.” Moreira said: “I don’t take it as a defeat, on the contrary, I take it as an apprenticeship. Paris 2024, It’s with you! ”.

These athletes, many times questioned or forgotten during each Olympiad, returned to stand with their effort in the face of the obvious structural advantages that their rivals have, differences that mark the importance of working on resources and processes to later obtain results, but that do not prevent May these Uruguayans and Uruguayans be valued as great examples of love for sports.

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